In June 2017 Apple updated its 13" MacBook Air with a newer Broadwell Intel Core i5 processor, resulting in slightly increased performance and battery life.

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How come my keyboard light turns off when I'm at school?

When I'm at school the keyboard light on my MacBook Air turns off and won't let me turn it back on; it shows the x symbol.

It doesn't just happen to me, it happens to some of my friends as well.

Why is that? I'm just curious.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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So on the macbook air, there is an ambient light sensor (Photo detector). when the room is bright you can see the keys, so the backlight is not needed and turned off to save power. when its dark, it turns on so you can see the keyboard. you can also manually change it by pressing these keys:

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typically, (at least for my macbook air and laptops I've seen) its somewhere in the red box.

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If you cover it with your finger, you should see the screen brightness go lower and the keyboard up.

What is a Photodetector?

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Thanks! However, I cannot manually set it to have the keyboard backlight. It will show a prohibition sign and not turn on. This only happens at school, never at home. I can turn it on whenever at home.


Too much light. although they should allow users to change it either way.


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Apple has documented this feature on their website:

Adjust the brightness of your backlit keyboard

If you can't adjust your keyboard's brightness manually, it's likely because you're in a very bright environment and you have your Mac set to automatically adjust the brightness. In this case, the backlit keyboard turns off. When you move to a location with less light, you can once again adjust the keyboard's brightness.

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Morgan will be eternally grateful.
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